In a radio interview I did recently, here are words that came out of my mouth: We always wanted to be countercultural — in an ADMIRABLE way.
Revelatory. Never knew I thought that till that moment. Really, the things a soul will pronounce on when you’re distracted by wires and microphones.
I was referring to the way that my dad and I were influenced by monks and monasteries when we set up Melleray Farmstead, the cottage industrial home of the Piedmont Pine Coffins workshop.
Monks and nuns, to many, are admirably countercultural. A typical reaction, when you tell someone about monks rising at 3 AM to start their seven-part office of daily prayer, goes something like: I could never do that. I couldn’t live that way. But I’m so glad there are people in the world who do, and I’m glad they are praying for me.
Ditto for other parts of their rule-governed lives: the silence, the slower pace, the celibacy, the focus on metanoia, the self-sufficiency.
When people hear about our tiny home off-grid lifestyle, they say similar things. No TV? No indoor plumbing? No way, I couldn’t. But that’s so cool.
It’s as if people are aware that there’s a mania driving our supersized and screen-fixated habits of consumption, and they are glad someone is resisting. (Ha ha, sure, as I write this on a screen and consume a large iced coffee bev at a cafe. The creep of paradox.)
This admirable resistance is different than, say, sitting out the national anthem or attending protest marches. For most, it’s less controversial and more contemplative. More subtly countercultural.
That’s the spirit in which we offer our products to you. The mainstream contemporary funeral industry does its thing. It’s the culture. Piedmont Pine Coffins, along with green burial cemeteries and home funeral partisans across the country, are part of the counter.
Admirably so, we hope.